Continuing to look at Tite Kubo’s Bleach manga, we now move on to the second volume. Previously Chad picked up a talking a parakeet, which seemingly resulted in him being targeted by a Hollow.
This second volume contains nine chapters, starting at eight and finishing up with sixteen.
Immediately after checking into the Kurosaki Clinic with a mysterious scar on his back, the muscle-bound Chad goes AWOL. Accompanying Chad is a talking parakeet imbued with the soul of a young boy named Yûichi. It doesn’t take newbie Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki long to surmise that a Hollow must be involved. By far the strongest spirit he’s faced to date, Ichigo is about to discover that not every soul is bound for the Soul Society, especially if it’s tainted with innocent blood.
This volume kicks off with chapter 8, ‘Chasing Chad’. After Chad’s disappearance, Ichigo frantically seeks him out. Meanwhile, Karin falls ill.
Ichigo meets up with Rukia, and manages to detect the soul of the parakeet using ‘reiraku’, or spirit ribbons. Just as they catch up to Chad, Karin appears before them.
Rukia tells Ichigo to take Karin home, whilst she chases Chad. He reluctantly agrees. On their way, Karin reveals she saw a memory from the soul in the parakeet – one where his mother was murdered in front of him. She asks Ichigo to help the soul.
Chapter 9 is ‘Monster vs. New Girl (Smack Down)’. Rukia is attacked from behind by a Hollow, whilst Ichigo realises something must be up with Karin as it’s the first time he’s seen her cry since their mother passed away.
Rukia tries to fight the Hollow, but her powers are still absent. Chad ends up joining the fight, even though he can’t see the Hollow. With Rukia guiding him, Chad is able to demonstrate some monstrous strength by swatting the Hollow out of the air with a telephone pole.
The fight against the Hollow continues in chapter 10, ‘Monster vs. New Girl Part 2 (The Substitute)’. The Hollow has some smaller companions, which he uses to pin down Rukia and Chad. However, Chad is able to knock them away.
The Hollow takes the opportunity to take to the air once more, so Rukia comes up with a plan to reach him. Unfortunately, being launched by Chad leaves her vulnerable to the Hollow’s leech bombs.
The Hollow leaves for a few moments, and returns with the parakeet. With his minion in place set to blow up the bird, he tells Rukia to run. She complies, coming under heavy fire from the exploding leeches.
Ichigo shows up and takes Rukia’s place to fight the Hollow.
Chapter 11 is ‘LEECH-BOMBS AND MOM’. Ichigo fights the Hollow, having to deal with its exploding leeches. During the battle, the Hollow reveals that it was a serial killer – Yûichi’s mother was his final victim, before being unceremoniously killed by the boy himself. As such, he has a grudge and put Yûichi’s soul in a parakeet to make him suffer.
This just angers Ichigo, so he rips the Hollow’s tongue out of its mouth.
‘The Gate of the End’ is the title of chapter 12. After making the Hollow suffer, Ichigo finishes it off. Instead of passing on, it is dragged into Hell due to the sins it committed when it was a human.
Chad says farewell to Yûichi, and he is able to pass on. Meanwhile, Karin recovers from the state she was in before.
Next up is chapter 13, ‘Bad Standard’. Rukia pays a visit to Urahara Shop, where she is greeted by Jinta Hanakari and Ururu Tsumugiya. Tessai Tsukabishi is moving some boxes around and offers to get the manager – one Kisuke Urahara.
Rukia picks up some items from the shop.
Back at Karakura 1st High School, Chad’s memory has been altered. Rukia arrives and hands Ichigo a soul candy. He takes one, and a different soul inhabits his body whilst he is in Soul Reaper form.
‘School Daze!!!’ is the title of chapter 14. Turns out Rukia had received a defective item from Urahara Shop.
That very soul takes advantage of being in Ichigo’s body, by damaging school property and then freaking out the girls in Ichigo’s class. Ichigo rushes back from slaying a Hollow, and just in time to find Tatsuki wrecking a classroom due to the soul’s actions.
Ichigo and Rukia try to corner him, but he makes an escape. Rukia realises that he is a mod soul.
Chapter 15 is ‘Jumpin’ Jack, Jolted’. Orihime realises the person who entered their classroom was not Ichigo.
Rukia tells Ichigo about mod souls and how they were supposed to be destroyed. Ichigo feels some sympathy towards them.
The mod soul freely bounces around town, freaking out some people. Meanwhile, Kisuke prepares something.
Volume two closes with chapter 16, ‘Wasted but Wanted’. Whilst Ichigo and Rukia continue to try to track down the mod soul, a Hollow appears. The mod soul ends up finding it first, so he fights it.
Ichigo ends up joining the fray too, and isn’t best pleased to see the mod soul getting his body injured.
Kisuke arrives and reverts the mod soul back to soul candy form, and says he will destroy it. However, Rukia takes it from him.
For the character profiles at the end of this volume, we have Orihime and Chad. Orihime’s theme song here is “T’en Vas Pas” by Elsa, whilst Chad has “No Song Unheard” by The Hellacopters.
Volume 2 shows us that Chad has rather impressive strength, and has no problem taking on a foe he can’t even see. Kind of a shame you can count his total victories across the entire manga on one hand…
We also have the introduction of Kisuke Urahara, arguably one of the most important characters of the series. Of course, that’s for later on; for now, he’s simply a shady merchant. Of course, there’s also the mod soul.
The fight against the Hollow is a fairly enjoyable one – Ichigo employs some rather brutal methods when it comes to defeating it, and it was also an opportunity to introduce the concept of Hell in Bleach.
Unfortunately nothing is done with it in the manga, but the plot of the fourth Bleach film, Hell Verse, focuses entirely on it.
More character development, along with some new characters in this volume. It’s pretty clear to see that the people around Ichigo are fairly attuned to the spiritual world; some of them will develop even further later on.
Next time, Ichigo faces a fearsome foe who may hold some connection to the death of his mother…